Troubled Derby ended a miserable week in style as Max Bird’s spectacular goal paved the way for a deserved home win over in-form Stoke.
Facing the prospect of a 12-point deduction after announcing on Friday they would go into administration, the Rams responded superbly as Bird curled a 25-yard shot into the top corner on his 21st birthday.
Moments later Curtis Davies met Graeme Shinnie’s floated free-kick ahead of the on-rushing Stoke goalkeeper Josef Bursik and flicked a header into an empty net.
City pulled a goal back against the run of play when Mario Vrancic teed up former Derby midfielder Tom Ince to slot in his first league goal since July 2020, but the hosts withstood late pressure to claim a first home win of the season.
Looking to salvage something positive on the pitch after the toughest of days off it, the Rams duly obliged with a dominant first-half display against a Stoke side who arrived boasting their best start to a season for 17 years, with 14 points from seven matches.
Lee Buchanan had a shot cleared off the line by Harry Souttar early on before Bird’s first senior Derby goal in 78 appearances and Davies’ first goal for four years put them in command.
Wayne Rooney’s side began the day as the league’s lowest scorers with four goals in seven matches, and had failed to score twice in any game, but they almost made it 3-0 before half-time when Bursik denied Sam Baldock one-on-one.
Ravel Morrison missed a gilt-edged chance to wrap things up when he fired wide of an open goal, and the miss seemed to inspire the Potters.
Moments after Derby goalkeeper Kelle Roos made a point-blank save to deny Sam Surridge, Ince netted his first goal since July 2020, and Ben Wilmot almost levelled late on, heading Vrancic’s header narrowly over the bar.
Derby’s first win in four matches lifts them up to 12th with 10 points, although this will drop to minus-two when they go into administration next week, while Stoke stay fifth despite their second defeat of the season.
Derby manager Wayne Rooney told BBC Radio Derby:
“I thought they were excellent under very difficult circumstances. It’s a massive win for us with all the negativity and all of the problems surrounding the club.
“Them players have gone out and put some pride back into this football club with that performance and that win.”
- 4ShinnieBooked at 8mins
- 17SibleyBooked at 38minsSubstituted forJózwiakat 74′minutes
- 11MorrisonSubstituted forKnightat 67′minutes
- 9BaldockSubstituted forStearmanat 84′minutes
- 19ØstigardBooked at 77mins
- 23InceBooked at 89mins
- 28SawyersBooked at 33minsSubstituted forDoughtyat 73′minutes
- 22SurridgeSubstituted forBrownat 59′minutes
- 27SimaSubstituted forPowellat 59′minutes
- Jeremy Simpson
Match ends, Derby County 2, Stoke City 1.
Second Half ends, Derby County 2, Stoke City 1.
Tom Ince (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Tom Ince (Stoke City).
Graeme Shinnie (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Nick Powell (Stoke City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alfie Doughty with a headed pass.
Tom Ince (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Lee Buchanan (Derby County).
Substitution, Derby County. Richard Stearman replaces Sam Baldock.
Attempt blocked. Tom Ince (Stoke City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Jacob Brown (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Nick Powell with a cross.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Kelle Roos.
Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Sam Clucas.
Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Tom Ince.
Foul by Tom Ince (Stoke City).
Lee Buchanan (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Leo Østigard (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt missed. Ben Wilmot (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Mario Vrancic with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Curtis Davies.
Attempt missed. Tom Ince (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Mario Vrancic with a cross following a corner.